"Shhh ... the best beaches are this way!
There are still plenty of places to escape the crowds around Europe's coasts. Ian McCurrach suggests some alternative hotspots
1. Costa da Caparica, Portugal
Visiting Lisbon? For some beach action head for the vast expanse of unspoilt golden sand that stretches along the Costa da Caparica, south of the capital. Backed by windswept dunes, the seemingly endless beach attracts all types of Lisboetas; the northern end is favoured by families, the southern is a gay and nudist haven. Follow the picturesque tree-lined lagoon, the Lagoa de Albufeira, to Praia do Meco, where the coarse-grained sand is pummelled by 6ft-high Atlantic breakers. There are many excellent beach cafés and restaurants here, serving great seafood and snacks. Further south is Sesimbra, a former fishing village with cruises, guided walks and scuba diving. At nearby Setubal are two important nature reserves, the Reserva Natural do Estuario do Sado and the Parque Natural da Arrabida. Activities include surfing, dolphin-watching, mountain-biking and hiking. (...)"
The Independent, 12 June 2005